By Out.com Editors
Lance: Oh, I want to know what your perception of the vibe on the set was, because we had a lot of straight actors.
James: For me, it seemed like everybody got into it. I was blown away by how meticulous Sean is about the look of the character and the voice and the sound -- just all the care that took. Just how dedicated he was. And then it seemed to me like Emile [Hirsch] -- he was playing young Cleve Jones, who was kind of a young badass -- he wasn't a shy character. So I think Emile really liked being that out there. I don't know if I should talk about Emile, but I think he even asked for that make-out scene with Joseph Cross. And for me it was like, Here I am in Gus's movie, and I'm finally getting as close to being in My Own Private Idaho as I'm going to get, so I'll do whatever. Not a ton is shown in the movie, but there's a scene where I'm naked in the pool and everybody else is dressed and there's just something uncomfortable about that. I felt like the girl in all those teen movies that pops out of the hot tub topless. [Laughs] I was like, All right, it's Gus Van Sant. I'll do whatever. I was just happy to be there.
Lance: Culturally, I thought it was interesting that no one seemed to be cringing or wiping their mouth or getting terrifically freaked out about playing a gay role.
James: Um, we did a little bit. I think Sean and I had the first kiss of the film, and there were like 200 people watching on Castro Street. I was a little nervous. And it was a long kiss.
Lance: That was the three-minute kiss out in front of the entire population of Castro Street, not shut down. Everyone in the Castro came out to watch James Franco and Sean Penn make out.
James: Armistead Maupin came down to watch! [Laughing] So that was weird. It'd be weird kissing a girl in front of all those people. After the first kiss, it broke the ice. And then after our kiss Sean texted Madonna -- his ex-wife, Madonna -- and said, 'I just broke my cherry kissing a guy. I thought of you. I don't know why.' And then she wrote back and said, 'Congratulations.'
Lance: You broke Sean Penn's gay cherry.
James: I did. I did. Now, wait, Lance. Let me think of something to ask you.
Lance: To ask me? They're not taking my picture for the cover of Out magazine.
Read more about the men behind the making of Milk here.